In the heart of Western Sydney, the Sydney Hills Business Chamber of Commerce hosted their regular networking event of 100 plus thriving business owners and leaders of the Norwest. Their success relies largely on an innovative spirit of embracing collaboration, learning and growth. This is why The Hills Community is leading NSW in GDP and SME growth.
An early and energized 7am start where a culture of inclusivity was met upon arrival. The Pioneer Room at the Castle Grand was quickly filled with some 100 business owners and leaders, including some of the legends of NSW business and influencers.
A warm and intimate atmosphere was created, which is testament to the legendary Jim Taggart: Master of Ceremonies, facilitator, philanthropist, mentor and friend. Jim is clearly nuanced at the art of ‘welcoming' and 'customer experience'.
MP Alex Hawke arrived on behalf of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, representing the Australian government when articulating the immense importance of these types of networking events on the growth of our economy: Events whereby SME’s are given the opportunity to collaborate learn and grow.
‘The Hills ‘and ‘Ryde’ communities were both acknowledged for being the ‘powerhouse of growth’. If there was a tournament for connecting and growing small businesses in the state of NSW, they are at the top of the league, with an astounding 6% growth rate. I could see the passion and pride radiating from the Hills Mayor, Yvonne Keane.
These positive stats are the result of strong leaders, such as the Chairman of the Sydney Hills Chamber, Anthony Moss. Moss’presentation flair is one to be reckoned with. He addressed not only the main issues faced by small businesses, but also that of their customers, explaining the importance of recruiting, training and retaining staff AND clients. The speech concluded on a positive note in regards to ditching OPAL CARDS, as commuting from the Hills to Town Hall station is essentially now redundant. Work opportunities in the area are booming, with infrastructure to support this lifestyle improvement.
The morning session concluded at 9am with one key overarching insight: Customer Service. A fundamental key to SME growth.
Connecting with clients + Collaborating with other businesses = Curating this ‘Customer Experience’.
An expert in this formula is BBG exec director Greg Kay, who uses the term ‘experience’ instead of ‘service’ to reinforce the client’s perspective when addressing their needs. When this is done right, we experience the familiar atmosphere of an office ‘vibe’, a ‘buzzing’ café. Robyn Hobbs, small business commissioner, explained how being a great ‘place manager’ is of immense importance when providing a great customer experience.
The keynote speaker was Dale Beaumont of ‘Business Blueprint and Brin’, who lives and breathes customer experience, delivering talks, free business blueprint days and mentoring programmes to add enormous value to SME’s.
Dale shared how key software programmes, apps and other innovative technology are essential to his thriving business (for more info, check out next article).
The 8th of March was definitely shaping up to be a significant date in acknowledging the growth of small businesses in Western Sydney as it coincidently fell on the same day as the ‘BBG Parramatta Breakfast Forum
More serendipitously (and more importantly) it also marks the date of International WomensDay: Across the globe, communities gathered to commemorate the many toils, triumphs and virtues of women. On this day, the BBG Parramatta Chapter proudly demonstrated their spirit of generosity: an incredible intuitive quality of women worldwide. In every BBG Chapter, this spirit of generosity is absolutely fundamental to its success.
As such, this was not your average business networking lunch.
This BBG Parramatta Chapter Lunch Forum was hosted by Eric Tjoeng of BGES (business coach and exit specialist) . Inspiring to note, every member contributed to co-creating a space that nurtured collaboration and learning. Exceptionally experienced members mingled with those relatively ‘new to the game’, sharing their knowledge of customer experience. For more experienced ‘game players’, it was humbling to find fresh perspectives in overcoming issues in customer experience.
Every BBG Chapter is unique in their combination and quality of members as well as the issues that are addressed.
Ultimately, the day opened our eyes to the importance of ‘business hospitality’, as the BBG Think Tank concluded on the 5 Dos and Donts of maintaining standards in customer service (aka CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE).
1. know, like and trust your clients, so they reciprocate this relationship .
2. ensure positive Communication
3. formalize expectations - and the exceed them
4. adress changes consistently
5. train your team in all of the above
1. Poor communication
2. Overpromise and under deliver - failure to perform
3. Being transactional and not relationship driven (customer - implies "custom" - someone who is a regular patron)
4. Failure to manage expectations
5. Failure to follow up and get feedback
written by Heidi Kaye